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Officials Carry Out First Hong Kong CBD Arrest 

Ed Knight

By Ed Knight

February 8, 2023

Vintage craft paper envelope tied up with string. Toned image. Toned image

iStock

Hong Kong officials have reportedly made their first arrest over cannabidiol (

) possession this week, only days after lawmakers there

, customs officials in Hong Kong made the arrest on Wednesday “after taking a clubhouse worker into custody when he showed up to collect a parcel from Denmark containing two bottles of the recently banned oil.”

Officials “found two more used bottles of the same CBD skin oil and four grams of cannabis buds from the man’s locker at the clubhouse of a residence in Yau Ma Tei on Wednesday,” the South China Morning Post

, noting that, combined “with the banned CBD product, the haul was worth about HK$5,000 (US$637)” and that cannabis “grinders were found in a search of the man’s home in Tseung Kwan O.”

It was the first CBD-related arrest in Hong Kong, the outlet report, coming only a week after a new law went into effect. Possessing or consuming CBD products in Hong Kong can lead to a seven-year jail sentence and a maximum fine of HK$1 million.

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Hong Kong CBD Ban in Action

Hong Kong “banned CBD as a ‘dangerous drug’ and imposed harsh penalties for its possession on Wednesday [February 1], forcing fledging businesses to shut down or revamp,”

.

The policy change has not been without controversy, with the South China Morning Post reporting that the new law prompted protests from individuals who viewed this as an overreach and overreaction from the government.

, “CBD-related businesses have closed down while others have struggled to remodel their businesses,” as consumers “dumped what they saw as a cure for their ailments into special collection boxes set up around the city.”

The South China Morning Post

that, as the new law took effect, “more than 77,000 such items already surrendered by the public to authorities.”

“The new rule reflects a zero-tolerance policy toward dangerous drugs in Hong Kong, a semi-autonomous southern Chinese business hub, as well as in mainland China, where CBD was banned in 2022,” the AP

. “The city maintains several categories of ‘dangerous drugs,’ which include ‘hard drugs’ such as heroin and cocaine. In explaining the policy change, the Hong Kong government cited the difficulty of isolating pure CBD from cannabis, the possibility of contamination with THC during the production process and the relative ease by which CBD can be converted to THC.” 

The new ban represents a sharp difference between Hong Kong and many western countries, where CBD products have risen in popularity in recent years. 

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CBD in the West

In the United States, Congress legalized the industrial production of hemp with the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill, which essentially made CBD legal in the country.

That same year, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration

“Epidiolex (cannabidiol) [CBD] oral solution for the treatment of seizures associated with two rare and severe forms of epilepsy, Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome, in patients two years of age and older.”

The administration said at the time that it was “the first FDA-approved drug that contains a purified drug substance derived from marijuana,” and “also the first FDA approval of a drug for the treatment of patients with Dravet syndrome.”

“This approval serves as a reminder that advancing sound development programs that properly evaluate active ingredients contained in marijuana can lead to important medical therapies. And, the FDA is committed to this kind of careful scientific research and drug development,” said then-FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb.

Ultimately, there’s a stark contrast between how the United States is inching toward

, while Hong Kong is taking a sharp stance against it.

Ed Knight

About The Author

Ed Knight

HIGH THERE MISSION

WE’RE A CREATIVE COMMUNITY — EXPLORING THE SCIENCE, CRAFT, AND CULTURE OF CANNABIS.
WE BELIEVE THAT WE HAVE A COLLECTIVE RESPONSIBILITY TOWARDS ERADICATING THE STIGMA, MISINFORMATION, AND INEQUITIES SURROUNDING THIS PLANT, SO WE CAN UNLOCK ITS TRUE POTENTIAL FOR ALL.

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